Background: Over a hundred years later, in 42 B.C., war again preoccupied the Romans. This time it was civil war, and the ruling triumvirs were badly in need of monies. To raise funds they voted to tax 1,400 of the richest women in the state. Fearing that taxes collected from them might be used in battles against their own families, the women mounted a protest. They chose Hortensia, the educated daughter of the famous orator Quintus Hortensius, to speak on their behalf. Rudely forcing their way into the forum, the women pushed Hortensia toward the triumvirs' tribunal. No female had ever spoken here before. A second century historian, Appian, in later years recorded what he understood to be Hortensia's speech.
Many men feared the possibility of divorce since the return of a dowry could bankrupt a family. Men may have treated their wives somewhat better than if there was no money involved. If the woman was young enough, her would use the dowry to marry her off again after a divorce. If not, the money was used for her future care. Either way, a woman from a wealthy family was at the mercy of her household. Women from the lower classes had to hope relatives would help their collect a dowry for them. If not, marriage was not very likely for them. A woman could divorce, but only if her family agreed she should. In all divorce cases, women lost their children, who were expected to stay with the father. As a result, it is easy to see why many women may have stayed in marriages, even if they really wanted to leave. Athenian women of the Classical Period did not have much power or input into their personal or financial lives. Were they even free to work and walk about the city?
Women and Medicine in Rome | Ancient Origins
- Hold a session of the Roman Senate at which a debate about women's rights is being held. Some students, using their own words, passionately present Cato's views. Others present Valerius's arguments. Someone could become Hortensia. Other members of the class might create signs, or slogans, which reflect the demands of women.
Women in Ancient Greece and Rome - Questia Online …
Since our matrons lived for so long by the highest standards of behavior without any law, what risk is there that, once it is repealed, they will yield to luxury? Shall we forbid only women to wear purple? When you, a man, may use purple on your clothes, will you not allow the mother of your family to have a purple cloak, and will your horse be more beautifully saddled than your wife is garbed?...
Women in ancient Rome only held power in their homes, ..
Girls did receive some informal education in their homes and learned to read and write. Both mothers and fathers had a role to play in the transmission of Roman culture and education to their children, however, it was frowned upon for women to become too educated, as can be seen in Juvenal's writings. He scoffs at women who have opinions on Homer, grammar, and ethics, and he implies that these sorts of women have forgotten their place in society by being so knowledgeable. It was not their place. Women were already finished their educations and having babies when their male contemporaries were practicing eloquence or studying philosophy abroad in places like Athens. Of course, this would only apply to males from upper class families. Women from the lower classes received enough education to assist them in running small businesses and working as dressmakers or salespeople in the markets.